If you’re anything like me, you lap up every single television programme about the underwater world. The ones that fascinate me the most are those that feature the weird, wonderful and rare creatures not often found…
Creatures such as the flamboyant cuttlefish, hairy frogfish, stargazer, mimic octopus and the blue ringed octopus…
One of the best places to find all of these creatures and many, many more is Lembeh Strait in Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia, recognised as the world’s premium muck diving destination.
Wikipedia: “Muck diving gets its name from the sediment that lies beneath most dives: A normally muddy or “mucky” environment. Other than the muddy sediment, the standard muck dive may consist of dead coral skeletons, discarded fishing equipment, tires and other man-made garbage. In addition, the visibility is usually sub par to the reef or wreck sites of the area”.
Muck diving is all about spotting tiny underwater critters, species that you would normally not look for or find easily during a regular dive.
Lembeh Strait is a shallow sea channel between the harbour town of Bitung and the island of Lembeh. As it is protected by the island, diving in Lembeh Strait is generally calm with very little current. Visibility can range between 4 and 20 metres. The average depth is in the region of 8 metres, which means you can enjoy long dives!
The sandy and silty sea bottom hosts an enormous variety of rare species which are common here but almost unheard of anywhere else.
Here you’ll find ornate ghost pipefish, banded sea snake, banded eel, orangutan crabs, the Lembeh Sea Dragon, the bobbitt worm, tiger shrimp, pegasus sea moth, mimic and wonderpus octopus, rhinopias scorpionfish, pygmy seahorse, flamboyant cuttlefish, cockatoo flounder, hairy frogfish, devil scorpionfish, stargazer, clown frogfish, thorny seahorse, nudibranchs in all shapes and sizes, cockatoo waspfish and mandarin fish… and a whole lot more! Lembeh is a real paradise for those that are into underwater macro photography and those wanting to discover critters not seen anywhere else.
Although Lembeh Strait has become so famous for its world-class muck diving, it also offers first-rate coral reef dives such as Angel’s Window and California Dreaming.
The usual routine for a day of diving in Lembeh would be breakfast, followed by two dives, lunch, an early afternoon dive and a night dive. Unlimited diving and snorkelling in between dives on the house reefs is also possible.
If you’re thinking of visiting Lembeh, watch this video – it will help you enjoy your experience (and that of others) a whole lot more!
Diving in Lembeh Strait usually forms part of a dive trip to northern Sulawesi. This will bring you the best of both worlds – diving on some of the world’s most diverse and pristine coral reefs combined with discovering the amazing critters of Lembeh Strait.
Photos by Scott Gietler and Amazing Sulawesi